A Cup of Moka: Not Your Average Joe

I remember the first time I tasted coffee. I thought it was pretty gross, but I didn’t want my mother to know. She had told me that I wouldn’t like it and I just couldn’t stand for her to be right (again). So I added tons of milk, sugar and cinnamon and pretended that it wasn’t the most bitter thing I had ever tasted. After that, for some reason I started to enjoy the taste of coffee, and nowadays, I almost never skip my morning latte. What better way to start the day than with a warm, delicious, comforting yet energizing beverage?

I love a good old cup of drip coffee (or as Europeans call it, American coffee) every now and then, but espresso-based beverages are definitely superior, IMHO. I usually use my wonderful automatic espresso machine to prepare lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and of course, shots of espresso. But there’s something so fun and nostalgic about using an old-fashioned espresso maker. Plus, it makes great coffee, with kind of a different, more earthy taste than the automatic machine.

I was recently travelling in Florence, Italy, where I enjoyed excessive amounts of delicious pasta, gelato and espresso. One day, after a satisfying yet coma-inducing lunch, I ordered an espresso and was told that they didn’t have any, but they did have a house-speciality moka. I was expecting something chocolatey but it was different... kind of like a more rustic, thicker espresso. Ever since I tasted this funky coffee, I had been hoping to have it again. I finally got that chance with a moka machine and Illy moka coffee from La Bottega (machine: $27.99; coffee $13.99). What an exciting way to shake up my coffee routine!

The next time you’re craving coffee, try a moka. And don’t just stop at drinking it... it is also wonderful in chocolate cake. My Moka Chocolate Mug Cake recipe below is a delicious example of the wonders of moka. It takes about 5 minutes to make, and it’s portion-controlled.  Buon appetito!

Moka Chocolate Mug Cake


4 tbsp flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

⅛ tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp moka or espresso

2 tbsp milk or buttermilk


In a microwave-safe mug, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until well blended. Add sugar, vanilla, butter, coffee and milk/buttermilk. Stir until batter comes together. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. 


Lindsay (@Modern_Hostess) is a self-taught chef who has a passion for hosting. In her culinary experiments and musings, she shows that beautiful, flavourful homemade dishes are within everyone’s reach... as long as quality ingredients are used to prepare it. Join her as she peruses the fabulous inventory of La Bottega, and provides tasty ideas for enjoying their finest products.  

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